With all the excitement this week over the news of Guillermo del Toro's confirmed role
in the director's chair for the two Hobbit
movies, it's a little refreshing to find a dissenting opinion, if only to keep the excitement from getting to exaggerated. Salon's Andrew O'Heir
doesn't take kindly to the news in his Beyond the Multiplex
blog, structuring his argument against the latest report in a calculated manner. First, O'Heir quotes from an interview he did
with del Toro at Cannes in 2006, where the director stated his disdain for "heroic fantasy." It's quite possible that he has changed his stance on this, and not just because of The Hobbit
: As recently as a few days ago, he was spotted at a protest
staged by HETFET
(Humans for the Ethical Treatment of Faeries, Elves and Trolls), which may or may not have been a publicity stunt on his part.
The rest of O'Heir's piece holds water. He thinks the franchise has been ensnared by greed and too many people are in charge. Reflecting on Peter Jackson's expansive power, O'Heir questions the director's comfort with handing the story over to another filmmaker ("It smells of George Lucas") and predicts an incoming conflict. He likes del Toro's work, but worries that the director might be working in somebody else's back yard. "We've got one of the true cinematic visionaries of our age, spending four years of his life
in a universe created by another one," he writes. "It's just too many cooks in the kitchen."
What do you think? Is del Toro getting in over his head?